Scotland Looks Toward A Big Year For Car Sales

Scottish auto sales fell 4.9 percent from 2010 to 2011 but new models and car finance programs should reverse this trend for 2012.

Scotland was not alone in the negative trending during 2011, as the entire UK experienced a 4.4 percent decline in auto sales.

The UK government car scrappage program ended during 2010, leaving sales to struggle through the following year.

Statistics revealed that only 166,877 cars were registered in Scotland last year. This is nearly a five percent decrease from the 2010 figure.

Scottish Motor Trade Association Chief Executive Douglas Robertson said that this decline it is not terribly disappointing based on the state of the economy.

One bright spot was the record-breaking year experienced by the Sunderland-area Nissan plant, which produced the Qashqai and Qashqai+2 around the clock.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Chief Executive Paul Everitt said that 2011 was “a challenging year.” Mr. Robertson predicted that 2012 will be “another difficult year” for car sales in Scotland.

However, he believes that features of updated and new models, including their improved fuel efficiency, will attract new buyers. He also expects the UK government to provide car finance assistance to auto buyers during 2012.

UK auto sales actually came in 0.9 percent higher than what SMMT forecasted for 2011. The keys to success this year will be consumer and business confidence, reported Mr. Everitt.

This makes it important for the UK government to assist with resolving eurozone instability and enact its growth strategy, he said.

In 2011, fleet sales helped support registration numbers while private market volumes declined. For the first time, the volume of diesel automobiles exceeded petro cars, taking record market share.

Alternative fuel vehicles also had a record share of the 2011 Scottish auto market. As 2012 progresses and inflation declines, economists predict that car buyer purchasing power will increase.